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Bop Shop: Songs From Cordae, Whee In, Uwade, And More

Rap has always been music’s frontier for speaking truth to power, and rising stars like New York-bred rapper Marlon Craft are continuing that legacy. His latest project, “State of the Union,” is a two-part track to complement his 2021 release of the same name, which dropped ahead of Inauguration Day and opened with the hard-hitting line, “The state of the union is that there isn’t one.” A year later, Craft is back for part two, which tackles everything from failures in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial to the overhaul of women’s rights and COVID-19 cases overwhelming our ICUs. Conscious rap rarely gets the mainstream attention it deserves, but there’s a long legacy of rappers — Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def), Queen Latifah, Common, KRS-1, A Tribe Called Quest, and Kendrick Lamar, to name a few — who convert economics and the social and political woes of our time to verse and lay it over an infectious beat. Craft is in good company. If headlines and news don’t appeal to you, perhaps rap will. —Virginia Lowman

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